PNP conducting separate probe on USC over last week's operation
The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday said they are conducting a separate investigation on the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu following their rescue operation inside the university last week.
“Actually we are conducting a separate investigation. I already tasked the regional director to coordinate with the DepEd (Department of Education) here if something is amiss or some policies are broken but it's a separate investigation,” General Debold Sinas said in a press briefing in Cebu.
Last February 15, police and personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) rescued nine Lumad minors whom they claim were taken by alleged communist rebels to train them to become warriors.
However, according to USC, the minors were not being held in the retreat house located inside the campus as the Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) Philippines Southern Province hosted a delegation last March 2020 and due to the quarantine restrictions in Cebu City due to COVID-19 pandemic, students were temporarily sheltered.
“No rescue need ever be conducted because the presence of the Lumads in the retreat house was for their welfare and well-being, and all throughout, they were nurtured, cared for, and treated with their best interest in mind,” USC said.
The university said the SVD retreat house is accessible through USC-Talamban Campus.
Some militant groups claimed police raided the retreat house.
Central Visayas police has filed charges for kidnapping, child exploitation and human trafficking against two datus, two teachers and three adult Lumad students who were arrested during the operation. Ella Dionisio/DMS